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This patrol behaved differently from patrols sent out from Boston in the past, staying out after dark and asking travelers about the location of Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
This had the unintended effect of alarming many residents and increasing their preparedness.
The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America. The Patriot colonists had received intelligence weeks before the expedition which warned of an impending British search, and had moved much, but not all, of the supplies to safety.
About 700 British Army regulars, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. They had also received details about British plans on the night before the battle, and information was rapidly supplied to the militia.
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The Massachusetts Militia had indeed been gathering a stock of weapons, powder, and supplies at Concord, as well as an even greater amount much further west in Worcester, but word reached the Colonists that British officers had been observed examining the roads to Concord.
More Minutemen arrived soon thereafter and inflicted heavy damage on the British regulars as they marched back towards Boston.
Upon returning to Lexington, Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Hugh, Earl Percy.
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were actually the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.
They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston.